The 10 Best VMware Virtual Appliances

As suggested in the comments, I’ve updated this post here: http://blandname.com/2012/04/09/top-10-virtual-appliances-revisited/

Daniel and Bitnami have quite a few of these already published, which is pretty cool! 

This list is subjective, and you’ve been warned!

All of these virtual appliances have been tested with ESX server, and may have issues elsewhere.

For appliances that needed it, I used R3 Data Recovery VMware Converter, the version that ships with Virtual Infrastructure 3.5 (VI3.5).

Please note that both ESX 3.5 and Virtual Center 2.5 are available as trials from VMware currently, and I would highly recommend trying them out as it really is night and day compared to VMware Workstation, Server and Player.

That said, for the most part you’ll be fine working with VMware Server 2.0 – it’s free and has a special version of VMware Infrastructure Client to boot.

The list:

  1. Astaro Security Gateway – This is a must in any build for me. I use this to bridge between my LAN/WAN and the virtual networks that I create. There is a 10-device, 1000 connection “home user” license available from My Astaro that should be more than sufficient to get you up and running with a clean, secure virtual network.
  2. Ubuntu 7.10 JeOS Mini-image – this image weighs in at only 70MB or so, expands to roughly 200MB, has apt-get installed, and is a perfect candidate for building virtual appliances with. VMware tools is installed, so you don’t need to worry about things like date and time sync.
  3. OpenBSD 4.2 – The OpenBSD image is great for getting started in the OpenBSD world: learning the shell, commands, networking, and in my case, firewalling. The verison I use comes from Chrysaor.info, but feel free to use your own.
  4. OpenSuSE 10.3 – I can’t live without this virtual appliance – I use it for just about everything, and is the first appliance installed in any environment. Note that it is a bit bloated, containing USB, sound and other components typically not needed in a virtual environment. On the other hand, since it’s tried and tested on my end, it’s a lifer.
  5. Trac – I use Trac as a wiki and VM staging log. I consider all VMs, hosts and Virtual Center as software projects, and monitor changes closely. If ever I need to pull up quick info about a virtual machine, host, network, router or firewall, it’s all in Trac.
  6. WordPress – I use my WordPress virtual machine to stage different versions of blandname, to test updates, upgrades, and plugins. This also allows me to change themes, move Adsense blocks around, and generally to play without fear of losing revenue or breaking something.

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VMware: Workstation, ACE, Player, Server releases

From the VMware blog:
Workstation 6.0.1, ACE 2.0.1, and Player 2.0.1 have all been released. These updates address security issues, introduce new functionality, and broaden guest OS support, including experimental support for 32-bit and 64-bit Windows Server 2008 (code name Longhorn).In addition, Workstation 5.5.5, ACE 1.0.4, Player 1.0.5, and Server 1.0.4 have also been released. These updates address security and functionality issues.”

This is interesting because there are new versions of products to talk about, along with new features.

What really made US happy, was seeing that security is still a concern on older releases – specifically VMware Workstation 5.5 (now 5.5.5), which many developpers use to this day for many reasons.

Distro of the week: Berry Linux

Up until a few years ago I was getting fed up trying to show Japanese friends that linux was a viable option to Windows XP SP2, because the input method that Linux used at the time quite truthfully stank. The conclusion was that with an English keyboard, Windows was the way to go because of the (then) fancy Japanese input method applet.

Later on, I found out about Berry Linux, a Japanese LiveCD distro based on RedHat/Fedora that can easily show off Linux and allow users to do things like compose email that Japanese people can actually read (common problem on Windows), and surf the web in Japanese by default, instead of having to manually choose codepages and the like, which frustrates must computer users (if they haven’t already given up).

Berry Linux got an update today (to version 0.75), and now supports fancy-pants XGL – which I’m sure you’ll agree kicks Aero’s behind quite handily (footily?). If you’re trying to run Berry Linux Mini as a virtual machine you’ll get a console instead of X and you’ll lose the XGL capabilities, so I’d recommend testing it on a physical machine instead of a virtual machine – it’s a LiveCD so it’s quite safe to do so.

Berry LinuxBerry LinuxBerry Linux

Here’s a feature rundown taken from the Berry Linux site’s English page (corrected a few typos):

    Common Features:

  • Support for Kernel-2.6. ALSA, ACPI, selinux.
  • Overlay Filesystem Support.
  • XGL, 3D Desktop, support.
  • Berry Linux is not necessary to install. (Root partition is in the RAMdisk using initrd, all commands are operated by being transfered from CD-ROM)
  • It can install on Windows without parting partitions to use Setup.exe or install.bat. (Using squashfs/cloop/loopback device)
  • It can install to your hard disk on Linux. (Use Berry Linux Installer or Copy under /BERRY/, and set up LILO or grub)
  • Berry Linux can boot from USB-HDD/memory.
  • Berry Linux uses WHIZ, a very sharp Kana-Kanji conversion system. (WHIZ Project)
  • If you push the windows key, and show the K-Menu.
  • Automatically recognizes USB storage, and show icons.
  • Berry Linux uses free Japanese True Type Fonts.
  • Berry Linux uses bootsplash when booting.
  • Berry Linux uses DHCP to connect the Network. (If you’d like to use PPPoE, you should setting up it on the Terminal)
  • It’s possible to save personal setting.
  • Red Hat Fedora compatible.
  • Using new technologies.
    Berry Linux’s Features:

  • You can listen to mp3 using BMP/XMMS, and play DVD/DivX using MPlayer, XINE and Kaffeine.
  • You can edit files of Microsoft Word, Excel by OpenOffice(TM).
    Berry Linux Mini’s Features:

  • Minimum Linux environment is available by using Berry Linux Mini.
  • Its file size is very small. (148.0MB)
  • It’s light. Because of the Window Manager is Fluxbox.
  • You can enjoy comfortable Linux environment.
    Berry Linux Server’s Features: (Published Berry Linux Mini as alpha version)

  • Build the Linux Server easily.
  • Minimum Server Linux enviroment is available by using Berry Linux Server.
  • Its file size is very small. (161.3MB)
  • It’s light. Because of the Window Manager is WindowMaker.
  • You can enjoy comfortable Linux enviroment.

    To do:

  • Support Software Suspend.
  • Support Captive NTFS.

You can grab Berry Linux from the SourceForge page or the Berry Linux main page – but I’d recomend using SourceForge if you are in North America as it is much faster.

Running Virtual Machines on Windows Vista

In the coming weeks I will be working more on Microsoft’s Windows Vista as it ramps up to release to manufacture (RTM) status.

Although you can currently run Microsoft Virtual Server 2005 in 32 bit mode on a Windows Vista physical machine, I’ve learned that I was recently accepted into the Virtual PC 2007 beta tester program, and that Virtual PC 2007 can run on 64bit Vista.

If you are interested in joining the Virtual PC 2007 beta program, I highly suggest you sign up, then play some fantastic Rod Stewart albums until you are accepted.

By the way, this does in fact mean you can run Vista on Vista reliably now. VMWare Workstation and Server still don’t work at this point, but it’s on the way, just stay tuned.

VMWare relases VMWare Converter 3 Beta Refresh

From the VMWare Converter 3 beta refresh release notes (found at virtualization.info):

VMware Converter provides an easy-to-use, scalable solution for migrations of machines, both physical to virtual and virtual to virtual. Optimized for mass migration, VMware Converter is equally effective for single-machine conversions. With its comprehensive and comprehensible wizards and task manager, VMware Converter imports virtual machines faster, with fewer manual steps required, and fewer source hardware limitations than other methods. Converter can, with its ability to hot clone, import with no downtime on the source physical machine.

VMware Converter combines and expands the functionality available in P2V Assistant and Virtual Machine Importer. It eases interoperability among VMware hosted products (Workstation, VMware Server, and VMware Player), VirtualCenter-managed ESX Server 3.x and 2.5.x, and unmanaged ESX Server 3.x.

Import from Physical Machines
(Source)

  • VMware Converter can hot clone and reconfigure any local or remote physical machine running an operating system noted in Platforms
  • VMware Converter Boot CD can be started from, and clone, local machines outfitted with storage controllers and network adapters that Microsoft lists as supported in Windows 2003

Import from Various Third-Party Formats and VMware Products
(Source)
  • Microsoft Virtual PC (version 7 and higher)
  • Microsoft Virtual Server (any version)
  • Symantec Backup Exec System Recovery images1
  • VMware Workstation 4.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware GSX Server 3.x)
  • VMware Workstation 5.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware Player and VMware Server 1.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
Export to a Virtual Machine for
VMware Workstation and Datacenter Products
(Destination)
  • VMware Workstation 4.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware GSX Server 3.x, ESX Server 2.5.x)2
  • VMware Workstation 5.x virtual machine (compatible with VMware Player and VMware Server 1.x)3
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x (when managed by VirtualCenter 2.x)
  • VMware ESX Server 3.x

Not Supported:

  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x when managed by VirtualCenter 1.x
  • VMware ESX Server 2.5.x unmanaged

1. The Symantec family of products includes the Backup Exec System Recovery (formerly LiveState Recovery) products and the Norton Ghost 9 (and higher) products. Only images from the Backup Exec System Recovery products are fully supported, but images from Norton Ghost 9 (and higher) are likely to work.

2. For ESX Server 2.5.x the .vmdk files must be imported using the vmkfstools utility.

3. Only Workstation 5.5 can power on linked imports of .sv2i images.

For more info please visit VMWare’s Converter 3 Beta Refresh page.

blandname whitepaper published on Silicon.com

Sometimes, I send articles from blogs or sites that I post to in order to have them published as white papers with business sites to see how well my content will fare. I typically don’t check up on them, and normally forget the logins shortly after submitting. However, I was just crawling through my Mint stats referer information, and noticed that one of the blandname articles got accepted to be published as a whitepaper at Silicon.com.

While this isn’t extremely exciting news, I was impressed nontheless that they didn’t edit the artcile at all – the whitepaper is wholly taken from my article on installing Ubuntu Edgy Eft Knot 3 on VMWare Server (if you haven’t read it yet check it out).

Alright back to work!

Manage Windows XP with Run Commands

Here is my collection of all of the Windows XP commands that you can start from the Start -> Run dialog box in order to manage a Windows XP (SP2) workstation.

  1. Accessibility Controls – access.cpl
  2. Accessibility Wizard – accwiz
  3. Add Hardware Wizard – hdwwiz.cpl
  4. Add/Remove Programs – appwiz.cpl
  5. Administrative Tools – control admintools
  6. Automatic Updates – wuaucpl.cpl
  7. Bluetooth Transfer Wizard – fsquirt
  8. Certificate Manager – certmgr.msc
  9. Character Map – charmap
  10. Check Disk Utility – chkdsk
  11. Clipboard Viewer – clipbrd
  12. Command Prompt – cmd
  13. Component Services – dcomcnfg
  14. Computer Management – compmgmt.msc
  15. Control Panel – control
  16. Date and Time Properties – timedate.cpl
  17. DDE Shares – ddeshare
  18. Device Manager – devmgmt.msc
  19. Direct X Troubleshooter – dxdiag
  20. Disk Cleanup Utility – cleanmgr
  21. Disk Defragment – dfrg.msc
  22. Disk Management – diskmgmt.msc
  23. Disk Partition Manager – diskpart
  24. Display Properties – desk.cpl
  25. Dr. Watson System Troubleshooting Utility – drwtsn32
  26. Driver Verifier Utility – verifier
  27. Event Viewer – eventvwr.msc
  28. Files and Settings Transfer Tool – migwiz
  29. File Signature Verification Tool – sigverif
  30. Findfast – findfast.cpl
  31. Folders Properties – control folders
  32. Fonts – control fonts
  33. Game Controllers – joy.cpl
  34. Group Policy Editor – gpedit.msc
  35. Help and Support – helpctr
  36. HyperTerminal – hypertrm
  37. Iexpress Wizard – iexpress
  38. Indexing Service – ciadv.msc
  39. Internet Connection Wizard – icwconn1
  40. Internet Explorer – iexplore
  41. Internet Properties – inetcpl.cpl
  42. Keyboard Properties – control keyboard
  43. Local Security Settings – secpol.msc
  44. Local Users and Groups – lusrmgr.msc
  45. Logoff Windows – logoff
  46. Malicious Software Removal Tool – mrt
  47. Microsoft Chat – winchat
  48. Microsoft Syncronization Tool – mobsync
  49. Mouse Properties – control mouse
  50. Netmeeting – conf
  51. Network Connections – control netconnections
  52. Network Connections – ncpa.cpl
  53. Network Setup Wizard – netsetup.cpl
  54. Object Packager – packager
  55. ODBC Data Source Administrator – odbccp32.cpl
  56. On Screen Keyboard – osk
  57. Outlook Express – msimn
  58. Password Properties – password.cpl
  59. Performance Monitor – perfmon
  60. Phone and Modem Options – telephon.cpl
  61. Power Configuration – powercfg.cpl
  62. Printers and Faxes – control printers
  63. Regional Settings – intl.cpl
  64. Registry Editor – regedit32
  65. Remote Access Phonebook – rasphone
  66. Remote Desktop – mstsc
  67. Removable Storage – ntmsmgr.msc
  68. Removable Storage Operator Requests – ntmsoprq.msc
  69. Resultant Set of Policy – rsop.msc
  70. Scanners and Cameras – sticpl.cpl
  71. Scheduled Tasks – control schedtasks
  72. Security Center – wscui.cpl
  73. Services – services.msc
  74. Shared Folders – fsmgmt.msc
  75. Shutdown Windows – shutdown
  76. Sounds and Audio – mmsys.cpl
  77. SQL Client Configuration – cliconfg
  78. System Configuration Editor – sysedit
  79. System Configuration Utility – msconfig
  80. System Information – msinfo32
  81. System Properties – sysdm.cpl
  82. Task Manager – taskmgr
  83. TCP Tester – tcptest
  84. Telnet Client – telnet
  85. User Account Management – nusrmgr.cpl
  86. Utility Manager – utilman
  87. Windows Address Book – wab
  88. Windows Address Book Import Utility – wabmig
  89. Windows Explorer – explorer
  90. Windows Firewall – firewall.cpl
  91. Windows Management Infrastructure – wmimgmt.msc
  92. Windows System Security Tool – syskey
  93. Windows Update – wupdmgr
  94. Windows Version – winver

Also to note: any executables found in PATH folders, for example “Program Files” can also be run from the Start -> Run dialog as well. This means to start VMWare Sever, you can type in “vmware” and it will start for you!